Mexican heather is a shrub that grows in tropical areas and acts like an evergreen.. In zones 7 and 8, Mexican heather acts like a perennial. In colder zones, it acts like an annual. Mexican heather blooms with purple flowers from spring to fall and may bloom all year around in warm climates. Mexican heather is originally from Mexico and Guatemala.
Mexican heather does well in hot humid climates where other plants may struggle. It should be planted in the sun or light shade in cooler climates. In hot climates, it needs more shade or the foliage and blooms will fade in the sun.
Mexican heather can be started from seeds or transplanted as a larger plant. Most people grow it from transplants. The plant will grow to approximately two feet tall and two feet wide so make sure the area you are going to plant it is big enough for the plant. Mexican heather makes a nice border material around sidewalks and the outside of flower beds.
To plant Mexican heather, first till an area to a depth of twelve to fifteen inches. Work three inches of compost into the tilled soil. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the plant. Carefully remove the root ball from the pot and place it in the hole. Firm the soil around the root ball and water in thoroughly.
Mexican heather does not need pruning. It will grow very fast until it gets to be about eighteen inches tall and wide then it will slow down significantly. It will usually top out at no more than two feet tall and two feet wide. However, you may prune the plant to a desired shape without hurting it.
Mexican heather needs an inch of water a week. Water all at once to promote deep roots. If the plant is in a container, you may have to water it more often as the soil in containers dries out more often.
Fertilize your Mexican heather every four months. Start when the blooms and growth just starts in the spring and use a long acting fertilizer. Repeat in early summer and in the fall. Use a general fertilizer such as 10-10-10 and follow package directions.
Mexican heather is attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. It is hardy and drought tolerant, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
Mexican heather is vulnerable to two pests: flea beetles and spider mites. Flea beetles love evening primrose, so remove any that is near your Mexican heather to take away their primary hosts. You can get most of the off by shaking the branches over a piece of white paper. If you must use chemicals to deal with the problem, insecticides containing pyrethrin will kill them.
Spider mites are most often to strike Mexican heathers when it is hot and dry. Look for their webs on the undersides of the leaves. Misting the plant daily may chase them away. If not, insecticidal soap will kill the spider mites without hurting bees, butterflies, and birds.